Club Tryouts – What Parents and Players Need to Know

So your child is interested in playing club volleyball?  Great!  It will help improve her skills and provide a great experience playing tournaments throughout the winter months.  However, it can be a tough decision deciding which club is right for you and your player – especially if you live in area like ours with many clubs to choose from.

Here is some advice from the directors of three area clubs:  Set Point, Champion and Davie Dazzle.

What are the top things a player/parent should look for in determining if a club is right for their child?

Philosophy of the club  All three directors mentioned this.  Parents and players need to know:

  • Does everyone that tries out make a team or are there cuts?
  • Do they stress teaching the game or winning the game?
  • What is their philosophy about playing time?
  • Is this a club that teaches the correct way to play or simply plays for wins?

You and your daughter need to agree with the club and its philosophies, whether your daughter is the best player or the least skilled player.  And everyone plays club volleyball in order to improve their skill level – so this should be happening on whichever team you choose.

Coaching  As with any sport, it’s important to know who are the people running the club and what kind of reputation they have.  Parents should ask:



  • What is their background in volleyball?
  • Are they someone you can trust?
  • Are the coaches excited to be a part of the program?
  • Do they know the game and how to teach it?

Coaches should be supportive, give constructive criticism and teach skills.  All coaching styles will not be the same, and your player may connect with her coach one year better than the next.  However, you should still feel that the overall coaching provided by a club fits with what your daughter hopes to gain from playing volleyball.

Player/Family fit   Yes – some clubs “fit” better than others.  Questions to ask include:

  • Does your player/family look forward to practice and games?
  • Do the fees, competition and practice schedule meet your family’s commitment level?
  • Does the club add value to your family?

A club should  fit the player’s personality.  This is why attending tryouts for more than one club is great when you are trying to determine the best fit.  The player should like as much about the club as possible – including the other players, level of play, coaches, etc.   No club is perfect, but the season is long and you hope your daughter is still excited to play as the season progresses.

How much should the player’s personal goals for the sport (i.e., wanting to have fun, be competitive, prepare themselves for potentially playing in college) factor in to the club selection?

Clubs and teams within clubs often have different goals.  Some strive to be as competitive as possible, with each player fitting into that plan either as a full-time, on the court player or as a part-time substitute.   Others strive to give each player the same experience and participation.  Still others are a mix of those goals.

Whatever your personal goals are, you should enjoy playing the game – but matching your goals to the team goals is very important to your enjoyment level.  Parents should make sure they understand their child’s goals and adjust their expectations to match.  (Note:  The player’s goals should come first…not the parents.) 

Families should ask themselves:  Why are we doing this?  What do we want to get out of this year?  Since goals change every year, you must continually re-ask these questions.

What really makes one club different from another?

The three club directors we spoke with gave some great advice on comparing clubs and seeing what makes each one different, and potentially a better fit, for your player:

  • The people (see above)
  • Fee structures – this usually is a reflection of what the club believes they can offer in terms of coaching, experience, competitiveness.  Do your homework to find the right match
  • The philosophy (see above)
  • Feeder programs for local schools
  • Parent run versus full-time staff run – both have advantages and disadvantages

Most clubs are a spin off from a different club.  They think they have a better coaching philosophy, fee structure, facility, convience or generally can do it better for their specific target players.  With the number of clubs out there and growth in interest in volleyball, every club is struggling for qualified coaches.  Coaching talent is stretched, so don’t be surprised if you find the best coaches in the area spread over many different clubs.

Bottom line:  you hope that your player falls in love with the game when they are young and wants to continue playing.  Once they start to develop their own goals, you and your player should find a club that aligns with those goals.

Resources available to parents:

Thanks to Fred Wendelboe, Matt Riggs and Doug Balser for their contributions to this article.


For Katy’s Sake: Spike Leukemia Volleyball Match Friday

Over the past four years, the Reagan High School volleyball teams have helped raised over $27,000 dollars to help the “For Katy’s Sake Foundation”.  The “For Katy’s Sake Foundation” helps families that have a child that is battling Leukemia. It’s a great cause – check out the photos from last year’s event.

Come out and join us Friday night (9/7/2012) in the 4th annual Spike Leukemia Volleyball match. Reagan is hosting Forsyth Country Day at 6:00pm. Spike Leukemia shirts are on sale at Reagan for $10.00. You can purchase shirts by contacting George Folger at Wear your shirt to the match to get in free. We will be selling T-shirts at the match as long as supplies last.

We will also have a silent auction to help raise money, so get to the match early to bid on some great items.

After the 2nd set, we will have a serve for a t-shirt contest. A $2 donation will give each participant multiple serves until a t-shirt is hit by a served ball.

I look forward to seeing you Friday night!

George Folger

Volleyball Coach @ Reagan High School

Highlights from the London Games – the Inside View

Here is the inside view and a great recap of the London Highlights from Doug Beal, Chief Executive Officer of USAV.  It’s a little bit of a lengthy read, but Doug does a great job of describing the highs and lows experienced by both the indoor and outdoor teams for men and women.  Doug also looks ahead to the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro and emphasizes all the great media attention the sport of volleyball has received in the London games.

It’s a great read if you’ve got 5-10 minutes….click on the link in the first sentence and enjoy!


Preparing Your Child for a Volleyball Team

So how does a child get started – and prepare for playing on teams as she grows up?  The YMCA programs are a great place to start.  As young as age 8, girls can take part in twice a week programs in the Spring and Fall to learn basic skills and the rules of the game.  The environment is fun, educational and may inspire your child to want to play the sport beyond just recreationally (as it did mine).

YMCA skills programs go from ages 8 to 15, with children placed in three different groups based on age and ability.  As your child progresses, they will receive more “playing time” in scrimmages among program participants.  This brings us to the next question:  what if my child wants to play volleyball competitively on an actual team?

After developing skills through the YMCA programs, your child may want to go on to try out for her middle school volleyball team or a club team.  Most public middle schools allow girls to begin playing the sport in 7th grade; private schools typically start at younger grades.  Girls as young as 10 or 11 can try out for club teams that play in the winter months in Saturday tournaments around the state.  Check out our club page for more details.

So learn the sport and get a great foundation through the Y programs.  The additional ball “touches” and serving opportunities they’ll get will benefit them in the off-season – and help them prep for team tryouts.

Greensboro SportsPlex Sunday Clinics

This is good for all ages and skill levels.  You can be a beginner or in elementary school and still come.  They will run 3-5 courts and divide players by skill age accordingly.

In preparation for the school volleyball seasons—high and middle—the Greensboro Sportsplex will begin its Sunday Volleyball Clinic series this coming Sunday, August 5, 2012.  Clinics will be held from 3 – 5 PM at the Greensboro Sportsplex.

Each clinic focuses on one or two foundation skills along with component and game training.  These clinics provide an excellent opportunity to sharpen skills away from the school-team setting in a fun, learning environment.

There are three sessions offered at the Greensboro Sportsplex this late-summer/fall season:

Session #1 – August 5, 12, 19, 26

Session #2 – September 9, 16, 23, 30

Session #3 – October 7, 14, 21, 28

The cost for each session is $80 for all 4 dates and $25 for walk-ups per-date.

A note from Trevor Hewitt, Volleyball Director:  I hope to see many of you out at the Greensboro Sportsplex working hard to improve your game!  Enjoy the rest of your summer, and best of luck at your school tryouts!

Greensboro Sportsplex

Phone:  336-373-3279; Fax:  336-373-4120

2400 16th Street, Greensboro, NC  27405


Why Choose Volleyball

Volleyball is a little different than most sports available to girls today.  There aren’t leagues that start at age 3 as with soccer.  Most girls don’t even get exposed to volleyball until the latter years of elementary school.  But that’s also what makes this a GREAT sport to get involved in – whether your child has tried another sport first or is just starting in athletics.  Reasons to try volleyball include:

  • Parents and children are looking for a fun, team sport to begin where it isn’t already super-competitive by age 10
  • A parent played volleyball in high school, college or rec leagues – and wants to pass their love of the sport on to their child
  • A child has height, athleticism or both

In volleyball, “team” is emphasized, with players giving each other positive feedback after each play – regardless if point is won or lost.  At the same time, girls develop individual skills that over time enable them to be a specific contributor to the team (setter, outside hitter, libero, etc.).  Players make connections to their teammates that create friendships that last a lifetime.  Success in this sport, as with others, also helps build confidence and self-esteem in young girls.

Volleyball is a fast growing sport for girls in the U.S., with options to play from late elementary through college.  Colleges have had indoor volleyball teams for years and are now adding outdoor teams as a an official collegiate sport.  Once your child gets involved in the sport, they have many options for playing…from school teams to clubs to even outdoor beach volleyball.

So consider volleyball!   It’s fun, exciting and may be just the sport your daughter’s been looking for!

Winston Area Volleyball Exchange (WAVE) Launches

Welcome to WAVE – Winston Area Volleyball Exchange!  We are a blog site dedicated to serving as a resource for volleyball families in the geographic area around Winston-Salem.  Our goal is to provide information about all things volleyball happening near us – from sporting events, to camps, to training programs and news.

Since this is an exchange, we want readers to contribute to the information we post.  So please let us know if you have news or photos to share, camp or clinic information to post or even want to write a volleyball topic article.  We’d love your contributions!

To grow the WAVE community, please share our URL with others involved in volleyball or thinking about getting involved.  We welcome your comments as well – so let us know how we’re doing!

Thanks!  Rob Maltzahn and Angela Levine (site admin)